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rebor

Looking for alternatives to Skritter - with the same level of convenience

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rebor

I've been using Skritter for all of my flashcarding for the last year or so, and though I'm very satisfied with both the version on the web and on my iPhone, I feel that the most important selling point, namely the writing, isn't that important to me. I'm familiar with radicals, and a few hundred of the most basic characters are probably permanently burned into my brain by now, so I feel that the benefits in learning/remembering characters that writing gives you have already been enjoyed by me. I see little practical use for handwriting, in my situation. I've turned off writing in Skritter, but now the monthly fee seems rather steep. I've been exploring alternatives, mainly Anki, but I miss:

1. the ease of adding new cards that you have in Skritter, with a built in dictionary, and numerous textbooks and vocabulary lists available. There are decks for Anki out there of course, but most of my textbooks are not available.

2. having Skritter take care of duplicate cards. Say, if I study NPCR 1 and 2, and then decide to study HSK 1-3, there's sure to be a great overlap in content. In Skritter, I can just add the new lists, and Skritter knows which words I've already studied.

I guess 1 and 2 are really two sides of the same coin. A word in Skritter has a given definition thanks to the built in dictionary. A card in Anki for a given word could contain only one or a few meanings of a word, or example sentences, or a Chinese to Chinese definition.

How do you approach this? Is there a better alternative than Anki?

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count_zero

Suggestion: make your own flashcards.

And writing will still be useful to help you memorise characters even if you know 3000+. And even if you only write the character once - when you make the flashcard.

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gougou

There's an add-on for Anki called Chinese support which adds automatic definitions from CEDICT to your new cards. It also checks for duplicates, so you will never have two cards with the same Chinese text (or whichever you use as the first field in your model).

I don't quite get your point about a card in Anki containing "only one or a few meanings of a word, or example sentences, or a Chinese to Chinese definition." You can add as many (or as few) fields as you like.

The only thing you will not be able to get are the predefined decks - if it doesn't exist, it doesn't exist. Of course, you could always spend a little while to make the flash cards and make them available to the community.

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rebor

count_zero: Writing is certainly useful, but for me I feel the benefit is too small for the time it takes.

gougou: That's exactly what I was looking for! Looked around, but missed it completely.

What I meant was simply that Anki in itself can't know if you have duplicates, since you might have several cards with the same character, but but with different fields on the back of the card. The automatic definitions obviously fixes this.

Of course I can make and share them and I'd be happy to. I just wanted to make sure that there weren't other programs with more decks floating around.

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gato

Do you have Pleco, which has its own quite powerful flashcard system?

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imron

I'd also put in a vote for Pleco. It takes care of all flashcard maintenance, duplicate cards and so on. Just look up the word in the dictionary, add '+' to add it to your flashcard list and Pleco takes care of the rest.

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icebear

Pleco - one time fee, extremely convenient, superior to Skritter except for handwriting tests.

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rebor

So, I've taken a month playing with both Anki and Pleco, but in the end Pleco won. I use pleco all the time for looking up words thanks to the amazing handwriting recognition, and the ease of adding new cards is fantastic. I'm currently working my way through the HSK lists, but once I get to adding my textbooks(Road to Success) I'll be sure to post the lists here or on PlecoForums.

Thanks everyone for your input!

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roddy

Thanks for following up!

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linguaholic

I vote for Pleco as well. The flashcard add-on is superb and very customizable. What I really like about it as well is that you can first just display the pinyin, then you can handwrite the character and THEN in the end display the character and compare...that sounds like a pretty trivial feature but in most of the flashcard applications (at least for iOS) it was not possible to do it this specific way.

The other add-ons for Pleco are well worth the money as well. I almost got all the expansions and use them on a regular basis.

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milestones

The new desktop (beta) for trainchinese just came out and I'm very impressed after using it the last few days, so I think it's a viable alternative to Skritter (whereas the earlier version was definitely not). I also use Pleco for android and, like others here, recommend it.       

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